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John Rozentals’ Travel Briefs For Week Beginning Dec 17

December 15, 2018 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

A quick glance at what’s available shows some great value in the Mantra Hotels’ Boxing Day sale, which runs December 26-31 and covers a wide range of Peppers, Art Series, Mantra and BreakFree properties in Australia, New Zealand, Bali and Hawaii.

For instance, stay in the heart of Brisbane at Mantra Terrace Hotel, located just minutes away from the shopping mecca of the Queen Street Mall and the business epicentre of Eagle Street, from $89 per night, Sunday to Friday, including free wi-fi and noon check-out.

Mostly the deals are valid for travel until December 20, 2019, but there is some variation, so please check.

Phone 1300 987 603 or visit 

 Mudgee … a charming Central-Western NSW town.

Ever wondered where is the town of Whyhope, backdrop to the Aussie drama Doctor Doctor?

Okay, so whilst the town might be fictional, the backdrop definitely isn’t and Mudgee is inviting people to experience it at a saving of 10 per cent on mid-week bookings.

Features of the package include three nights accommodation at Mudgee Homestead Guesthouse with full breakfast each day, a winery and Whyhope ‘hotspots’ tour, dinner for two at Eltons, drinks voucher at The Woolpack Hotel, and a private wine-tasting experience and antipasto platter at Logan Wines.

The price of $1045 for two people is valid until November 17, 2019.


 Parkroyal Parramatta … a solid choice in Sydney’s west.

Metropolitan Parramatta, in Sydney’s west, may seem like your average, unassuming city on the surface, but visitors could be pleasantly surprised if they look in the right places.

Stepping into Elizabeth Farm, the oldest house in the country, for instance, feels like a journey two centuries back in time.

One of Parramatta’s most fascinating colonial landmarks, whose dark history is a source of much intrigue, this quaint bungalow was once the home of John and Elizabeth Macarthur, a famous couple in the colony.

Now it serves as a museum, shining a light on the NSW colony’s early history.

There are obviously plenty of accommodation options in Sydney’s west, but a good starting point is certainly Parkroyal Parramatta.

Located on the banks of Parramatta River, the 286-room hotel is situated right in the centre of Parramatta’s premium shopping and entertainment belt on Church Street, and within easy walking distance of its vibrant hub of restaurants, bars and cafés.

Rooms are priced from $140 per night.


 The five-star Riley … taking seriously its environmental commitment.

The five-star Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection resort which opened its doors in Cairns in November, certainly takes seriously the encompassing brand’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

At Rileys, that commitment includes paper-free check-in and out, no plastic drinking bottles or straws, the replacement of plastic guest key cards with 100 per cent recycled wooden cards, and the overall aim of 90 per cent less in-room paper than ‘the average five-star hotel’.

The 311-room Riley is the first of three hotels from Crystalbrook properties due to open in Cairns over the next year or so, and is the first new five-star hotel to open in the city in more than 20 years.

 The Taste of Tasmania … has morphed into the largest food festival in Australia.

Celebrate the way they eat, drink and socialise on the island at the 30th annual Taste of Tasmania festival in Hobart from December 28 to January 3.

What began essentially as a small waterfront festival within easy reach of the Sydney-Hobart yacht race finish line to feed and entertain the sailors has morphed into one of the largest food festivals in Australia.

This year’s program features the carefully curated Culinary Kitchen Program with some of the state’s top food talent presenting workshops, master classes and tastings, as well as more than 100 stallholders open from 11am-11pm daily and a vibrant program of live music across four stages.


Dragon boats on Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour … a lively, colourful spectacle.

One of the highlights of a very full Hong Kong calendar is the annual Dragon Boat Carnival, which this year will be held from 
June 14-16.

The carnival includes the Tuen Ng Festival, which dates back 2000 years and commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a Chinese national hero.

The racing takes place on Victoria Harbour, where fierce-looking dragon boats compete in a lively, colourful spectacle.

Teams of 12 to 28 paddlers race the elaborately decorated dragon boats, to the beat of heavy drums and the keen encouragement of spectators.

 Fakarava Atoll … on the Seven Seas Navigator itinerary.

For anyone who has ever visited the idyllic islands of Polynesia in the South Pacific, it’s not hard to see why the crew of HMS Bounty were reluctant to leave.

Latitude 33’s 16-night ‘The Brando, Black Pearls and Bora Bora’ journey claims to offer the perfect blend of luxury and relaxation, with more than a hint of the romantic in the ultimate castaway experience.

The adventure is limited to 20 guests in February 2021 and is topped and tailed by one and two nights respectively at Papeete’s Intercontinental Tahiti Spa and Resort.

The itinerary takes in three nights at all-inclusive The Brando on the private island of Tetiaroa, once home to Marlon Brando, followed by a 10-night cruise around French Polynesia on board Seven Seas Navigator.

Bora Bora’s Tetiaroa is replete with white sand beaches, exotic birds, swaying coconut palms and a sparkling lagoon.

Highlights of the 10-night cruise include the spectacular bays of Moorea, said to be the inspiration for author James Michener’s mythical island of Bali Hai, West Polynesia’s Fakarava Atoll, and the dramatic volcanic island of Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands, home of the third-biggest waterfall in the world.

Prices are from $21,299 per person twin-share, including all accommodation, return airport transfers in Australia, return flights to The Brando, all meals and beverages at The Brando and on board Seven Seas Navigator, and all transfers and baggage handling throughout the tour.

Phone 1300 636 848 or visit

 Nuremberg … end-point of a seven-night river cruise.

Australians can see the maze of canals in Venice and the pristine mountains of Switzerland, and cruise along the Main River in Germany visiting medieval towns and citadels nestled on the banks of the river as part of a new fly-cruise-and-tour package from Riviera Travel in partnership with Cruise Traveller.

The 16-night ‘Swiss Bells and German Citadels’ package departs Australia on May 26 and combines a seven-night small-group tour from Venice to Zurich with a seven-night river cruise from Mainz to Nuremberg, aboard the 140-guest river ship Jane Austen.

Book by January 31 and also included are flights from five Australian cities, accommodation at Venice and Zurich and a free onboard drinks package.

Prices are from $13,995 per person twin-share ex Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane or Perth.

Phone 1800 507 777 or visit

 The Parthenon … one of the highlights of a new Viking itinerary.

Viking has a new 11-day ocean-cruise itinerary that will allow guests to explore the ancient empires of antiquity of the Aegean Sea during the quiet winter season.

Sailing round-trip from Athens in January 2021, the ‘Greek Odyssey’ itinerary features three new Greek ports of call for Viking — Volos, Thessaloníki and Nafpilo — as well as a stop in Ephesus, marking the company’s return to Turkey.

Prices are from $5495 per person twin-share.

“Our guests are curious explorers who want opportunities for learning while they travel in comfort,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking.

Sailing on Viking’s 930-guest, all-veranda Viking Sea, guests will journey through several millennia of culture and history, from Athens, known as the ‘birthplace of democracy’, to the island of Crete, home to the mysterious Minoan civilization.

Phone 138 747 or visit


 Indonesia’s Triton Bay … home to some beautiful beaches.

Explore Asia’s mesmerising blend of ancient and contemporary wonders with Silversea’s Silver Discoverer cruises departing in February and March.

Travellers have the option of a 14-day voyage from Chennai to Yangon, a 15-day voyage from Yangon to Bali and a 16-day voyage from Bali to Darwin.

These all-inclusive fly-cruise holiday packages include complimentary economy-class round-trip flights or reduced business-class fares, pre- or post-cruise accommodation for a night, and international transfers.

Departing Bali on March 20 on a 16-night sailing to Darwin, for instance, Silver Discoverer sails though the Banda Sea and the Arafura Sea.

Highlights include the chance to spot komodo dragons in the Sunda Islands, encountering fascinating cultures against the backdrop of intriguing local history and breath-taking scenery, and the chance to explore the beautiful beaches of Triton Bay.

All-inclusive fares start from $16,000 per person twin-share.

Phone 1300 306 872 or visit

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